Get OUT of balance to be IN balance

3:16 PM, Mar 7, 2011   |    comments
Get OUT of balance to be IN balance
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GOLDEN VALLEY, Minn. -- When my wife and I were slamming to pay off our debt, a few folks said to me "You need to have more balance in your life. You've got to live a little." I couldn't agree more. That's exactly why we were doing it! Financially speaking, I believe people need to go through seasons of life intentionally OUT of balance, if they ultimately want to live life IN balance.

Imagine this line in the picture above represents life/money styles. On the left side is a life 100 percent dedicated to saving money... no vacations, no restaurants, lots of self-denial and drum-tight budgets. The right side of the line represents a life dedicated to "living it up." Every dollar (and more) is spent. This life-style is filled with thoughtless purchases, frivolous spending with little to no awareness of in-coming and out-going. The middle is the "sweet spot." It's a healthy balance of saving and spending.

When my wife and I decided to pay off our debt, we methodically forced our lives WAY out of balance, spending a period of time on the FAR left side on this seesaw. There were no fun trips or going out to eat. We canceled our cable, started cutting coupons (for the first time) and kept our thermostat as low as humanly possible. The only "entertainment" we accounted for was a $1 Redbox movie every once in awhile.

It was extremely tough, but only TEMPORARY! That short period of time living WAY OUT OF BALANCE has given us the freedom to live life comfortably IN BALANCE.

Today, we save 15 percent or our income towards retirement, pay extra on our mortgage every month, spend a healthy dose of money on Beckham (our son), home-upgrades, family trips and entertainment. None of which would have been possible without the OUT OF BALANCE living we had made prior.

The reality is that most Americans are living out of balance in the first place. However it's on the RIGHT side of this continuum. Eighty percent of folks live paycheck to paycheck. Many of which are spending more than what they take in. Ironically, it's these same folks telling me to "live a little"... funny. 

Trust me, there is nothing wrong with buying stuff, eating regularly in restaurants, going on vacations and driving nice cars. But you CANNOT camp out on the RIGHT side of this line your whole life and expect to have a healthy life/money balance... or retire for that matter, but that's a whole other topic.

(Copyright 2011 KARE. All rights reserved)

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